Pontvianne F, Blevins T, Chandrasekhara C, Mozgová I, Hassel C, Pontes OM, Tucker S, Mokros P, Muchová V, Fajkus J, Pikaard CS
Eukaryotes can have thousands of 45S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) genes, many of which are silenced during development. Using fluorescence-activated sorting techniques, we show that active rRNA genes in Arabidopsis thaliana are present within sorted nucleoli, whereas silenced rRNA genes are excluded. DNA methyltransferase (met1), histone deacetylase (hda6), or chromatin assembly (caf1) mutants that disrupt silencing abrogate this nucleoplasmic-nucleolar partitioning. Bisulfite sequencing data indicate that active nucleolar rRNA genes are nearly completely demethylated at promoter CGs, whereas silenced genes are nearly fully methylated. Collectively, the data reveal that rRNA genes occupy distinct but changeable nuclear territories according to their epigenetic state.